Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Kevin Harlan (play-byplay), Rich Gannon (analyst) and Jay Feely (sideline reporter).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Setting the scene: The Bengals return home on Sunday to face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium, still looking for their first win of the season after a 23-17 loss last week at Baltimore dropped them to 0-6.
Cincinnati’s start against Baltimore could be accurately classified as “fast.” In fact, it was technically the fastest start in team history. S Brandon Wilson bolted 92 yards for a TD on the game’s opening kickoff, marking the first time in team history a Bengal has opened a game with a kickoff-return TD. Additionally, the NFL’s Next Gen Stats service, which tracks players’ speed by using GPS, clocked Wilson’s run at 22.03 MPH, the third-fastest speed in the NFL this year and the fastest by a Bengal since NGS’ launch in 2016.
The Ravens responded quickly, though, and scored on their first three possessions to open up a 17-7 lead. But while Cincinnati held Baltimore to just six points the rest of the contest, the Ravens leaned heavily on a ground game (43 rushes, 269 yards) that helped them dominate time of possession, 39:42 to 20:18.
Cincinnati’s offense failed to find traction much of the afternoon, until QB Andy Dalton led the Bengals on a 12-play, 48-yard drive to pull within six with 1:28 left. But a Randy Bullock onside kick attempt failed, the Ravens ran out the clock, and the Bengals went home with their sixth loss in as many games.
A major point of emphasis for Taylor and the Bengals will be trying to jumpstart HB Joe Mixon and the rushing game, after the team gained just 33 net yards on 14 carries against the Ravens. Factoring into the equation will be the offensive line, which has been weakened by injuries this season.
Cincinnati is also anticipating the upcoming return of star WR A.J. Green, who practiced last week for the first time since late July, when he suffered an ankle injury in the Bengals’ first training camp practice. It is unknown, though, if Green will be able to play this Sunday vs. Jacksonville.
Jacksonville enters Sunday’s matchup 2-4, after falling at home to the New Orleans Saints last week.
The series: The Jaguars lead 12-9, but the Bengals have won four of the last five meetings. The Bengals also won the last two meetings at Paul Brown Stadium in 2014 and ’08. The Jaguars won the most recent meeting, 23-7 in Jacksonville in 2017, but they have not won in Cincinnati since 2002. The Bengals lead 6-4 overall as the home team.
The Bengals and Jaguars were rivals in the AFC Central Division from 1995 through 2001, playing twice each season. This week’s game is their eighth meeting since the 2002 realignment that put Cincinnati in the AFC North and Jacksonville in the AFC South. The Bengals are 4-3 against the Jaguars since the realignment.
Bengals-Jaguars connections: Jaguars OL Andrew Norwell is from Cincinnati (Anderson High School) and played at Ohio State University ... Jaguars OL Cedric Ogbuehi entered the NFL as a first-round pick (21st overall) of the Bengals in 2015, and was with Cincinnati through the ’18 season ... Jaguars DE Josh Allen played at the University of Kentucky ... Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap played at the University of Florida ... Bengals OT Bobby Hart played at Florida State University ... Bengals senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner was on the Jaguars’ coaching staff from 2006-13 ... Jaguars WR Keenan Cole is from Louisville, Ky., and played at Kentucky Wesleyan University ... Jaguars Dawuane Smoot is from Groveport, Ohio (Madison High School) ... Bengals TE Jordan Franks (practice squad) is from Wakulla, Fla., and played at the University of Central Florida ... Bengals OT Wyatt Miller (practice squad) played at the University of Central Florida ... Jaguars offensive line coach George Warhop played center at the University of Cincinnati from 1980-83 ...Jaguars secondary coach-cornerbacks coach Tim Walton played at Ohio State University from 1992-95, and coached at Bowling Green State University from 1995-99 ... Jaguars senior defensive assistant Dom Capers coached at Ohio State University from 1982-83 ... Jaguars assistant special teams coordinator Mike Mallory is from Bowling Green, Ohio, and also coached at the University of Louisville in 2007.
T.B. chasing T.J.: Six games into the 2019 season, WR Tyler Boyd remains in position to make a run at former Bengals WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s team record for receptions in a season. Houshmandzadeh’s 112 catches in 2007 stand as the top mark in team history, with WR Carl Pickens’ 100 in 1996 counting as the only other instance of a Bengal reaching the 100-catch plateau.
Boyd so far has 40 catches, tied for sixth-most in the NFL this season, tied for the fifth-most ever by a Bengal in the first six games of a season, and slightly behind pace to break Houshmandzadeh’s record. Boyd had been ahead of record pace, before being held to a season-low three catches last Sunday at Baltimore. Houshmandzadeh had 51 catches through six games in 2007, and Pickens had 36 in 1996. Boyd would need to average 7.2 catches over the Bengals’ final 10 games to equal Houshmandzadeh’s 112, and 6.0 per game to reach the 100-catch plateau.
Bengals tough when Joe’s clicking: Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has alluded several times this season to the team’s effort to involve HB Joe Mixon more heavily in the Bengals’ offense. History shows that probably is a good idea.
The Bengals are 6-1 since Mixon’s rookie season of 2017 when he gets at least 20 carries, with the lone outlier being a loss at the L.A. Chargers late last year after the Bengals had lost QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green for the season due to injuries. The Bengals are also 6-5 in games where Mixon has reached 100 total yards, with two of the five losses coming late last year without Dalton and Green. And when Mixon reaches 100 rushing yards, Cincinnati is 3-2, with both losses coming last year without Dalton and Green.
The Bengals are 0-1 this season when Mixon reaches 100 total yards (109 in Game 5 vs. Arizona). He has not yet reached 20 carries or 100 rushing yards.
Mixon looks to regain 2018 form: Despite missing two games due to a knee injury last season, HB Joe Mixon still managed to become the only Bengals player ever to lead the AFC in rushing yards (1168) in a season (RB Paul Robinson led the AFL in rushing in 1968). And while he has topped 100 total yards once this season (109 in Game 5 vs. Arizona), he hasn’t yet found the statistical success in 2019 that he had in ’18, when he recorded the 22nd 1000-yard rushing season in Bengals history and became just the 11th Bengal ever to hit that mark. He also scored a team-high nine TDs (eight rushing, one receiving) last year, and had four games of 100 or more yards rushing and seven games of 100 or more yards from scrimmage.
Through six games this year, Mixon has 74 rushes for 252 yards. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, who entered the season stressing the importance of the run game in his system, said recently that fixing Cincinnati’s ground attack is among the coaching staff’s top priorities.
25 points does the trick: Since 2011, the rookie season of both QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green, the Bengals own a 46-1-2 record (.959) when scoring 25 or more points. Only Miami has a better winning percentage, at .970 (32-1-0), when topping the 25-point mark over that span. The Bengals were a perfect 6-0 in 2018 when scoring 25 points or more, and 0-10 when failing to hit the mark. They have yet to reach 25 points in a game in 2019.